Books for Babies

Started in 2016 by Sheila Knerr, MD, Assistant Medical Director of the Hospitalist Program at CHOP at Grand View Health, Books for Babies has expanded to include nurseries in six CHOP-affiliated hospitals in the Philadelphia-South Jersey region. The program now reaches about 11,000 families a year who deliver babies at Grand View Health, Doylestown Hospital, Virtua Mount Holly Hospital, Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, AtlantiCare and Pennsylvania Hospital.

Here’s how it works:

While still in the hospital, each new parent receives a gift bag that includes a board book, currently Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, a “Reading Tips for Babies” handout, a specially designed bookmark and information about their local library. The book doubles as a resource to remind parents of safe sleeping habits for infants. Hospital staff and providers encourage parents to begin reading to their babies early and often, and explain the benefits of reading aloud, which include:

  • Promoting language and vocabulary acquisition
  • Strengthening parent-child bonding
  • Helping establish a bedtime routine

Books for Babies serves as a foundation for child literacy that is continued in primary care practices in the CHOP Care Network through the Reach Out and Read program.

To get started, families can check out the section on reading to babies on, and Spanish speakers can get tips for promoting literacy in bilingual children here, a helpful page among many from

For more information about the Books for Babies program, contact Dr. Knerr at To make a donation to support the program, make a donation at; from the drop-down menu on the form, select “A specific area of the hospital” and then type in Books for Babies.

Next Steps